Saturday, October 31, 2009

....ever Reforming...


Just for a moment....consider.....


- the glut of power that occurs when one body controls far too much

- the difficulty in speaking against something one once held dear

- the power of words...spoken to be sure, but the endurance of words written
- the absolute power of Scripture....sola scriptura....


Consider how soon we disregard momentous events because they are filled with seriousness and life-changing commentary which have nothing to do with what the world chooses to celebrate.


Consider how quickly the work of martyrs is tossed aside for the work of entertainment.


Consider just the first point of 95:


"When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, "Repent" (Mt 4:17), he willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance."










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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The decision is in the 'doing'...not the 'being'...

To do or not to do....THAT is the question.....

I can't help but "be" so I'm not sure what Bill S. (Shakespeare, not Steffen) had in mind with "to be or not to be..." but he certainly must have had a staff of people to do his 'doing', otherwise he would have realized that it's in the doing, or not doing, that we have the greatest decision making. And perhaps that in the doing, or not doing, that we have the most potential to really improve upon a life or completely mess it up....or at least mess it up for a day or week or evening.

Sometimes 'doing' decisions are made for us - our much liked piano teacher decided to stop teaching. After Ethan taking lessons for many years and Maddie following suit, the ending of this relationship was rather difficult. Or at least rather odd. When Monday rolls around it still doesn't feel quite right that we are home and not heading to lessons. And I have even been dragging my feet in finding a replacement teacher though one is really needed for our youngest musician as piano is her "thing". So we are not doing piano...though we really didn't get to make that decision.

A "not to do".

My biggest not doing as of late was not doing my high school reunion. I believe "party pooper" was used - most definitely with the greatest of Christian love - when I did not make an appearance. The fact that my lack of appearance was noted at least gave my ego a minuscule bump that day. Here's the thing.......I did NOT like high school. When I was in the midst of it of course I tolerated it, I had friends, I studied when necessary. But I did not like it. The teachers everyone adored? Well one made me dress up funny to recite a little bit of Hamlet. The other couldn't remember my name to save his life. These were the guys that lead, of all things, Young Life...the ones that were supposed to make kids feel open about their spiritual lives - give them a safe "outlet". I still shudder a bit when I envision one in particular. I don't have many memories from my high school years which I'd want to sit around and recall. Furthermore, in light of the life we have been leading the past few months in this household, attending a reunion was at the bottom of my list...especially of things to do alone.

That was a "not to do".

I have determined even more than usual to embrace the role that I have been assigned in this life. At present, that role is that of mother. (Yes - wife too - no preaching please....) My role has been summarily derided as of late by a lovely little special on NBC news conducted with great skeletal aplomb by Maria Shriver. Being 'just' a stay at home mom and keeper of a house was labelled "antiquated". I love how a society can twist anything into being "antiquated" or somehow without value based upon the wishes of a vocal group - perhaps a vocal majority at this point. Because life was SO very bad when moms were home with their children? Because the lives of children who were greeted at the door by a mom who sat and listened to their day as if the world depended on it scarred children for life? Because generations of adults brought up in a family with a mom always available become the ungreatest generation? Not so much.

This is a big "to do" right now.

Finally, as in all things, it seems even more important - and perhaps more difficult - to do the good that I know I should do....perhaps it is the plummet in finances in this home - perhaps the plummet in mood in this home - perhaps it's the general state of so much in this world. Whatever it is....perhaps it's just sin (ya think?).....the good I want to do I do not do.....though I hope to continue, at the very least, to toss aside anything that gets in the way of at least making a valiant attempt at something worth doing...something good worth doing.







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Thursday, October 8, 2009

Balance


This is a day from which is springing a quick post based upon quick observations....not always a sign of something stellar to follow, but I'll see if my thought process stands the test of time - or at least of a blog post that is not deleted very soon in the future.


In life, as many are wont to point out, "...it takes all kinds....". It takes the generous (to make up for the stingy) - it takes the humble (to make up for the proud) - it takes the quiet (to make up for the boisterous). It simply takes a lot of balance in personalities to make everything and everyone in a sin-filled world run relatively smoothly. Those of a more secular bent like to hearken to the concept of "yin and yang", that concept from Chinese thought which simply observes that opposites are necessary and unavoidable. To have 'light', one must know 'dark'. To have 'female', one must also have 'male'. When the order is disrupted....or there is attempt to disrupt it....life is thrown (even more) off balance.


I am certainly not a Taoist, but the thought here is prevalent especially in Scripture. When God created He created in perfect balance. Just enough of everything - a perfect compliment for each living thing. To the dark He brought light, to the earth He brought water and sky, to male He gave female. Balance in all things. Perfect Harmony. Of course this balance has been forever skewed by sin with His creation, with each successive generation, forgetting the importance of balance or -perhaps even more frightening - attempting to find it where there can never be balance.


All of this leading to my thoughts today. How, as a Christian woman, I am often in a state of complete unbalance. Finding that perfect middle is extremely difficult in so many arenas of life, even in the seemingly "good" things I do. Women are notorious over-volunteerers....whether it's from guilt, gratitude, or just plain 'super woman complex' the teeter-totter of volunteerism often falls far to one side. Or, honestly, to the opposite side - the women who expect their fellow sisters to pick up the slack and, therefore, never volunteer of their time at all. Balance is tough in this area.


Balance is also difficult when it comes to our personalities. We all know what little flaws we suffer from internally - the kind that bubble out from our mouths (or fingers) far too often. The advice we give that should not be given. The ego trips that lead us to correct people over matters which really don't call for correction. The sarcasm which belies impatience, ignorance, or just plain unkindness. And, just to be fair, the false meekness which simply serves to provide insulation from relationships. Balance in our personalities is difficult to achieve.


To find balance in our homes is perhaps the most difficult. As a woman my sinful nature naturally fights against the order of creation. As much as I'd love to think that my husband would refer to me as "Leah, my rib..." as Luther did of his wife, Katie, there's a pretty good chance that on many days I'd be "Leah, the pain in my side". It is difficult to walk alongside someone not because we want to, but in all honesty, because we were created to do so. It is hard to be a "help meet" when we really just want help ourselves. And at the same time it is difficult to speak up and take accountability when many of us just want to hide behind some false veil of meekness, for while the meek may inherit the earth it is the martyr who is brave enough to stand and give a full accounting of this hope that prods her on.


In the end, my prayer like Job, is "...Let me be weighed in a just balance, and let God know my integrity" (31:6; ESV) which, when commented upon by Matthew Henry, summarizes the life:


What we have in the world may be used with comfort, or lost with comfort, if honestly gotten. Without strict honestly and faithfulness in all our dealings, we can have no good evidence of true godliness.










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Monday, October 5, 2009

Of quality...rarely quantity


We grow up rapidly...some in both years and emotions...some more years than anything else. Yet one thing doesn't change - the gift of friendship. Oh, not in the sappy Hallmark way...I'm not sappy in the least. More that kind of friendship that has staying power. The kind formed during adversity, joy, or shared experience. Perhaps it's the kind forged in marriage, bonded by school, solidified by ill health. Even more treasured are those friendships which share not only any of the above, but also a love of one Savior as their commonality. Those friendships especially have staying power.


(At this point I was going to discuss one of the more beautiful examples of such friendship, that of David & Jonathan. Instead, as a tangent, consider doing a cursory internet search of this relationship. It seems that many of skewed it into a gay relationship. Yes. Truly. Sad.)


During the past few weeks this family has experienced the gift of trials. We are still working really hard at considering it "joy"....right now we are simply finding our comfort in knowing that nothing happens randomly. There is reason for everything and whether it's for us to learn or as a gift for our friends, we must remember that in the midst of everything there are gifts to be found. One such gift is this gift of friendship.


And so - written not as well as so many other things - this is to be a blanket endorsement for building quality friendships. The kind that endure. The kind based upon faith. The kind based upon shared Scripture. The kind that answer the 'call' even when the call isn't made audibly. It is not in years but in that intangible but certain bond that we find earthly comfort. Of those who easily lay on our couches, speak to our children, share humor when others just want to speak in serious hushed tones. Of sisters not of blood but of the heart. Of brothers not of birth. These are the quality - not quantity - which this writer wholeheartedly endorses and finds her joy within.









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